Abusive brother at Christmas dinner


#1

When is enough, enough. I visited my mother for Christmas(my brother lives with her with his children). My visit started with my brother refusing to come downstairs because we had my son's girlfriend with us. My brother usually drinks heavily on Christmas Eve and spends Christmas in a very bad mood. This year, when he finallly decided to join the party, he came down stairs showing us all his middle finger . My husband wished him a Merry Christmas and offered to shake his hand. Brother gave my husband his middle finger to shake.

My brother then proceeded to tell me I was a liar and call me a full of something (he used more graphic language) He also called me the "B" word.

I tried to ignore him and focus on my mother. I ate dinner and exchanged presents with my nieces but I really just wanted to leave.

On the way out, my brother gavemy husband and me a gift card in an envelope. I have to say I really just wanted to throw the gift card in the trash when I got home. I know I can't bring myself to ever use it in gratitude.(any suggestion about what I should do with it?)

Now I am debating if I should completely cut my brother out of my life.
I have tried to be good to him and help him and he has turned against my like a wild beast.
The gift card seems to me guilty action he must feel at times for having returned my kindness with hatred..

Oh, one more thing I need to add. My brother gave his eldest daughter's boyfriend a small gift bag with a gift card in it but the disturbing part was that first the boy had to unwrap a shot gun shell (a bullet meant for him was my brother's message) My brother said it was a joke.
I was horrified. This boy had just lost his father 6 month ago and is mourning his loss. It was one of the cruelest jokes I have ever witnessed.


#2

Your brother sounds mentally ill. I would probably resort to having my part of his life be, me praying for his conversion.

I'd possibly explain to your mother, that you can't have his poison in your actual life, but that you will pray for him and maybe take her out for lunch or have her to your home, whatever to be with her.

As for the gift card. I'd buy something with it, that I could donate to a shelter, or just donate the card itself.


#3

Your brother sounds like a potentially dangerous, violent alcoholic. I would not tolerate this behavior AT ALL, but I worry about your mother living in this environment, also your sister-in-law and their children.

I think that you should consult a competent family counselor and possibly a family lawyer about what is best to do. I would not subject or potentially endanger you, your husband or family to his abusive, drunken, possibly dangerous behavior. He is filled with anger, probably at his lack of control over his life as an alcoholic living with his mother, and he is spreading it out on all members of his family.


#4

[quote="heart4home, post:2, topic:223897"]

As for the gift card. I'd buy something with it, that I could donate to a shelter, or just donate the card itself.

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The card is a restaurant gift card but I would like to donate it to someone.


#5

[quote="1234, post:3, topic:223897"]
Your brother sounds like a potentially dangerous, violent alcoholic. I would not tolerate this behavior AT ALL, but I worry about your mother living in this environment, also your sister-in-law and their children.
-no sister-in-law, just 3 neices and my mother . My mother also has problems,(and I have issues with her) so I do what I can to be a good daughter. My real reason for putting up with this is to keep a relationship with my nieces. I can't abandon them.I think that you should consult a competent family counselor and possibly a family lawyer about what is best to do. I would not subject or potentially endanger you, your husband or family to his abusive, drunken, possibly dangerous behavior. He is filled with anger, probably at his lack of control over his life as an alcoholic living with his mother, and he is spreading it out on all members of his family.

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I'm not sure if this is doable, as I am not living day to day in their household.


#6

I would either return that gift card to him, or donate it to charity. He is trying to buy you off and ease his guilt by his bad behavior. Accepting his "present" gives him permission to continue to treat you (and others) in such a cruel way.


#7

You may want to give a call to the social services agency in their area, and explain what is going on. You don't have to identify yourself. You can do it anonymously. Your mother and your brother have chosen their road in life, the children have not. If anything, do it for the children. I don't think that I need to tell you that your brother is a ticking time bomb crying out for help.

I think that at this point you already have realized that family is family, but your husband and children come first ------ you certainly should not feel obligated to continue to visit and expose yourself, your husband and your children to this dangerous situation.

Finally, you may want to get the telephone number of the local police precinct in their town, and call them if you happen to be speaking to your mother, and find out that your brother is behaving in a questionable manner.

Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding everyone in this situation. Amen.


#8

I am so sorry, that sounds terrible :(

I however would at least still communicate over the phone and I would also mail cards. If you go to your mothers and he is there or if you phone and he answers, I would be nice and ask how he is doing. If you think he may be a danger to himself or others perhaps you could get him some help as suggested by others. I'm saying this because hindsight is 20/20. My sister was a drug addict and as a result would steal, lie, be rude, etc etc. I made the decision to cut her out of my life and she ended up dying thinking I didn't care about her. I would do anything to change that! :( I will pray for you and your family,
Ginger


#9

I agree with the above poster that a call to social services is needed. I can't imagine he can take proper care of children while living with his mom because he can't support himself, acting so terribly, and potentially being an acoholic. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing my nieces and nephews are in that situation.

As far as cutting off contact with mentally ill family members who cause severe problems in family relationships, I've had to talk to my priest about the same issue as well as read from professionals on the subject, and they all said that the best thing to do is have as little contact with them as possible until they get the help they need. In cases where a certain family member turns every single interaction (no matter how big or small) into something negative, the more you contact them the deeper the hole gets.


#10

[quote="NiceMimi, post:7, topic:223897"]
You may want to give a call to the social services agency in their area, and explain what is going on. You don't have to identify yourself. You can do it anonymously. Your mother and your brother have chosen their road in life, the children have not. If anything, do it for the children. I don't think that I need to tell you that your brother is a ticking time bomb crying out for help.
I I have dealt with social services before, my sister is an alcoholic with 3 children. It's very hard to get children to tell the truth about the parent. So unless the children tell the truth or the social services can get some hard evidence, they won't do much. I know my mother will protect him and i know the children will cover for him. I need to add that most of the abuse was aimed at me, my husband and the niece's boyfriend that day (all outsiders)/COLOR]I think that at this point you already have realized that family is family, but your husband and children come first ------ you certainly should not feel obligated to continue to visit and expose yourself, your husband and your children.

One thing is for sure, I will never expose my family(husband and 2 grown sons plus my eldest son's girlfriend) to this again.
He tried to attack my son at Thanksgiving(at my house) for living a chaste life(another joke) but I told him that was none of his his business and he shut up.
I was wrong to bring my family around him again at Christmas. Thank God he didn't try to verbally abuse my sons at Christmas because I would be very angry at myself for being foolish enough to think I could get along with him at the expense of my own children (even if they are grown they are still my children)

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#11

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:9, topic:223897"]

As far as cutting off contact with mentally ill family members who cause severe problems in family relationships, I've had to talk to my priest about the same issue as well as read from professionals on the subject, and they all said that the best thing to do is have as little contact with them as possible until they get the help they need. In cases where a certain family member turns every single interaction (no matter how big or small) into something negative, the more you contact them the deeper the hole gets.

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I appreciate this advice because I feel guilty, especially when I know that he will try to retaliate when i no longer have contact with him. He will try to keep me from seeing the children and he will tell the children that I no longer care about them. I have hope though because they are getting old enough to see through his lies and I won't loose them.
The youngest asked me one day which niece was my favorite. I have six between my three siblings. I told her that they were all precious jewels to me and then we decided which jewel each niece was going to be. She wanted to be a diamond and I told her that that's exactly what I thought she was, a precious diamond.


#12

[quote="m_crane, post:11, topic:223897"]
I appreciate this advice because I feel guilty, especially when I know that he will try to retaliate when i no longer have contact with him.

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My husband is the same way. He says limiting contact with his two severely mentally ill family members would be "abandoning" them, and he doesn't want to cut them off like much of the rest of the family has. He has lots of issues with boundaries and truly believes he can change people and help them, but in reality there is nothing he can do and staying by their side is only wrecking his family and putting us through an emotional ringer. You, too, have to realize that there is probably nothing you can do to change or help your brother and that he will continue to treat you like this as long as you will allow it. You have to do what is best for you and your family, and that means keeping dangerous, harmful influences away from them - and unfortunately that sometimes includes relatives.


#13

Even if they all lie to a social services agency about what is really going on, if social services get's enough calls, red flags will be raised. Even one call raises red flags. Also, it will put your brother and your mom on notice that people are taking notice, and are taking action. It will also let the little ones know that someone cares. I've heard of cases where once social services is called in, the perpetrators clean up their act. Yes, calling social services is harsh, but those children deserve better. Don't feel guilty about not going back, but as was earlier posted, phone calls and cards may be the way to go. Is it possible to get their neighbors to keep an eye out also? Is it possible to get a hold of their medical doctor, and get him/her to help? Also, calling the school counselor on the young ones behalf may be of infinite help.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending your angels to the home of M.Crane's family. Thank You Lord for bringing about miracles in their lives, and for bringing healing, love, good health, and blessings. Amen.


#14

Where does your other sibling fit in in this? Does he or she recognize what's going on and will he/she stand with you in trying to at least help the children?

This is a situation where having the support of other rational family members is crucial. Even if they choose to not be involved, at least try to reach some understanding on what you feel compelled to do.

One thing you might consider is contacting Al Anon and Al Anon Teen, for family members of alcoholics to help them to understand the disease, to help them understand what is happening with the alcoholic, how family members can help, and how they can protect themselves. It can help your nieces not to grow up feeling shame and guilt, or blaming themselves.


#15

[quote="PattiDay, post:14, topic:223897"]
Where does your other sibling fit in in this? Does he or she recognize what's going on and will he/she stand with you in trying to at least help the children?

This is a situation where having the support of other rational family members is crucial. Even if they choose to not be involved, at least try to reach some understanding on what you feel compelled to do.

One thing you might consider is contacting Al Anon and Al Anon Teen, for family members of alcoholics to help them to understand the disease, to help them understand what is happening with the alcoholic, how family members can help, and how they can protect themselves. It can help your nieces not to grow up feeling shame and guilt, or blaming themselves.

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Great suggestion. The mother needs Al-Anon most of all, for allowing this son to stay in her home and cause all of this suffering to his family. She may feel that if she kicks him out, she is being cruel and that if he stays there is a possibility that he will stop drinking. Both of which are untrue, of course. Alateen is a great support group for older children and ttens. They already have experienced too much for them to handle and are at great risk themselves of either becoming alcoholics or of looking for alcoholics in their own livves.

I sure wish the OP's mother would get a backbone and kick this son out of her home until he at least sobers up and gets into AA, and makes amends for what he has done. It may be that when he is at his worst, he is in a blackout anyway and won't remember anything he's done or said. Alcoholics can continue to "function" in a black-out but will not remember anything.

Highly recommend Al-Anon. They will all 'qualify" and will get support from the minute they walk into their first meeting.


#16

Thank you all for your good advice so far but some things are confused so I'll try to paint a clearer picture of the family dynamics.

I am the eldest of 3 siblings, I live an hour away from these relatives with my husband. I have 2 grown unmarried sons.

My first sibling is the brother(the abustive onein this post). He lives with my mother and his 18 year old, 16 year old and 13 year old daughters. He never married his 3 children's mother. She has no contact with him. He hates her. The children see her occassionally. She has no interest in raising them.

My second sibling is my sister. She is an alcholic. Child protective services have been called on her. She is on probation for domestic abuse against her boyfriend. She lives with the boyfriend his 3 children and her 3 children. The boyfriend's daughter 15 just had a baby and now lives with the babie's father's parent. I have no contact with my sister because she got very abusive with me 2 Christmas's ago. She told me F you and hung up on me when I was tryng to make holiday arrangements with her. I have since had to bail her out of jail(the domestic abuse incident) and have had temporary custody of her 2 youngest children. (the social services incident)She is a chronic liar and a thief. She hates me.

My 3rd sibling is my youngest brother. He lives around the corner from my mother. He suffers from mental illness(in his younger years he was in and out of mental hospitals but now he refuses to get help). He lives with a girl her met in the mental hospital. They have one daughter 10 years old. They are not married because it would cut their disability check. I have befriended his girlfriend. She tries very hard to do what best for the daughter but my brother is also very verbaly abusive to her.He occassionally does things like cutting his wrists or taking overdoses. He won't speak to anyone in the family.(which is a good thing) As of last summer, he no longer will speak to me. He says it's because I don't do anything for him. He told me I am a piece of sh-t. I do try to help him but he needs more than I can do for him. He is trying very hard to keep his girlfriend from talking to me. He doesn't allow her to answer the phone when I call. She is also mentally ill and sometimes she gets very angry with me (because he tells her horrible lies)and refuses to talk to me for weeks. I care very much for his girlfriend and this hurts me very much but I can't do anything about it. I pray for her that she will discover the truth and that I am her friend. I offer this pain to the Lord for her, my niece and my brother.

My mother is bitter over my father leaving her when we were children. She never got over it.
She lived very much like my sister does now. Lots of men, alchohol and was always trying to commit suicide. We were severely neglected after my father left. She would tell us always(like my eldest brother does to his children) that my father did not want us. (it may have been true but it was cruel to say). After I was grown and out of the house, my mother went back to the Church. It has done her no good because she uses the faith to do her own will and justify some very bad actions. I still think that God has a hold on her but that the grudge against my father is in her way of getting healed. She had a fall and broke her hip a year ago. She told all my uncle,her cousin and the priest at her Church that we wanted her to die and that we were throwing away her things. She refused to come live with me for her recovery and went to my sister's renta in stead. She has always shown covert distain for me but lately she has been much worse and has begun to act hateful toward me. I think is is because I am healing and becoming stronger in my relationship with Our Lord. She called me Saint (my name), very sarcastically, last week when I told her she should not tell my Uncle to baptize his grandson in secret.

If you begin to think that my mother may be the biggest contributing factor in the mess, I believe you are probably correct.

I have almost given up on helping my siblings what I can't bring myself to abandon is my connection to the 6 nieces and 1 nephew. So I keep at it and I run into alot of trouble navigating these relationships with my mother and siblings in order to see the children.


#17

Bless your heart. Get completely out of this horrible family dynamic - it is toxic. For your own emotional health, you need to cut ties with these people.
I have recently cut ties with my own mother (see my other posts) because she is horribly emotionally and verbally abusive and manipulative. Now I am the family villain, but for the first time, I don't really care. I refuse to allow my mother to ruin another Christmas for me, as she has done my entire life.
It is very difficult to do, but it is worth standing up for yourself and the harmony of your family home.


#18

I think you have gotten great advice - I just wanted to let you know you are in my prayers.


#19

Prayers for a difficult situation.

I applaud you for trying to maintain a relationship with your nieces and nephew under such challenging circumstances.

In my opinion you need to occasionally put up with your family's @#&* for the sake of your relationship with the minor children ---but it doesn't necessarily have to be on holidays lest you spoil things for your husband and sons. You never know how you might be an example to these children of how family/people can and do behave.

It goes without saying that if any of these people pose any danger to you then you need to stay away.

And I'd always leave a door open for family members who try to change for the better (however unlikely that might be.) But by all means minimize contact. (And it seems you already do that.)


#20

[quote="Musician, post:17, topic:223897"]
Bless your heart. Get completely out of this horrible family dynamic - it is toxic. For your own emotional health, you need to cut ties with these people.
I have recently cut ties with my own mother (see my other posts) because she is horribly emotionally and verbally abusive and manipulative. Now I am the family villain, but for the first time, I don't really care. I refuse to allow my mother to ruin another Christmas for me, as she has done my entire life.
It is very difficult to do, but it is worth standing up for yourself and the harmony of your family home.

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:thumbsup:


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